I keep thinking that I am ready to wrap up these Steve Ditko retrospective pieces and then you folks just keep on sending in interesting topics to cover and I "have" to keep going! Quotes because, of course, it is always interesting to write these articles, so I am certainly not complaining.
This time around, my pal Glen Cadigan suggested that I spotlight a surprising instance of Steve Ditko actually being recorded talking about comic books! This is a big deal, as Ditko was very well known for his unwillingness to be interviewed. Put it this way, there was no comic book creator that Ditko admired more than Will Eisner (there is a reason why the Eisner Awards are the Eisner Awards, ya know? That dude was REVERED by generations of star artists) and yet he would not even do an interview with Eisner.
I have featured this piece before in one of these articles, but it is still interesting. Ditko was SO against being interviewed about his work that he wouldn't even contribute anything to the freaking TEXT PIECE in Showcase #73, the first appearance of Ditko's creation, The Creeper.
That's not a guy who is all about being willing to be moved on things, ya know?
Perhaps the most amusing instance of Ditko being unwilling to talk about stuff occurred in 1965. Marvel had introduced a fan group called the Merry Marvel Marching Society and as part of the membership in the group, they provided fans with a short record that featured Stan Lee and Flo Steinberg (Stan's assistant) interviewing the various members of the already famous "Marvel Bullpen," the artists who drew all of Marvel's hit books.
Jack Kirby is on there, cracking jokes about the readers complaining too much about Sue Storm's hairdo ("I'll make her bald next!") and there's Wallace Wood (then recently working for Marvel on Daredevil, where he created the famous red Daredevil costume) basically just rambling to Flo, but, of course, there is no Steve Ditko.
Stan Lee rolls with it like a pro and while bantering with letterer Artie Simek, Lee explains that Ditko jumped out of the window to avoid talking to them. Lee then jokes that he thinks that Ditko really WAS Spider-Man.
Man, can you imagine how much Ditko must have hated the idea of this record? That's so Ditko.
Amusingly enough, though, while you would think that that would have been our best and last chance to hear Ditko's voice, there actually was another chance and it actually HAPPENED!